It has been barely a month since the initial awardees of broadband stimulus grants were announced, but the American Library Association (ALA) is calling for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to set aside more funds to power the Public Computer Centers (PCC) program.
Although the NTIA has not set an official timeline for the second round of funding under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the ALA and other associations such as the American Association of Community Colleges argue that by setting aside more funding for the PCC program, public libraries and community colleges will be able to extend their computer and Internet access capabilities to more of the general public. Given the challenging economic times, patrons that don't have a computer at home could use these common sites for job hunting and resume creation.
Despite the need for increased public use, Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, pointed out that the amount of libraries that lack bandwidth is quite high. "Eighty-one percent of public libraries say that they do not have sufficient computer capacity to meet the needs of their patrons," said Sheketoff in a release. "We believe obtaining additional funding through the PCC program would equip libraries to continue meeting the needs of the public."
- see the release here
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